A Child's Ability to Communicate Starts at Birth
Kids start developing communication skills from the moment they're born. Newborns quickly begin to recognize important sounds in their environment, such as their parents' voices. As they grow, babies start recognizing the sounds that form language, such as the way syllables, words, and sentences work.
In fact, the first three years of a child's life are the most critical for speech and language development because the brain is best able to absorb language during this period. That's why it's important to talk, listen, read, sing, and play games with young children and help teach important language skills that will last a lifetime.
Literacy is a term that includes reading, writing, speaking, and listening − and it is the foundation of a child's learning process. The best way to build literacy skills is to read to your child every day, starting in infancy.
Your baby will love listening to the tone and rhythm of your voice and looking at pictures in a story book. In turn, books expose your child to vocabulary, word use, and picture identification − all of which encourage language development.
By reading to your child regularly starting at an early age, you will give your child a strong foundation for future learning that will help set him up for success in school − and in life!
It's important for parents to understand the critical role they play in their child's language development. A child develops much of his capacity for learning during his earliest years since this is the time when the brain undergoes its most dramatic growth.
When parents read, sing, or talk to their child, the child's brain is filled with words, sounds, and emotions that help make the brain cells grow stronger. This will have a lifelong effect on his ability to learn language and communicate with others. In fact, kids who don't develop basic literacy skills before kindergarten are three times more likely to drop out of school later in life.
Talking, writing, reading, and listening − these are all essential parts of your child's literacy development. As your child grows, watch for these milestones:
Many California children are raised in multi-language homes and others learn more than one language through school curriculum. Studies show that learning a second language is good for the brain and can reap personal and professional benefits later in life. It's like a form of mental exercise where no matter what language a person is speaking at the moment, both languages are active in the brain.
It's never too soon for a child to learn a second language. In fact, the earlier you introduce a second language, the easier it will be for your child to pick it up.
All children learn and develop at different rates. You know your child best. If you see that your child is experiencing a language or reading problem, it's important that you talk to your child's doctor or teacher about your concerns and get help if needed.